Microsoft Workers Demand Tech Giant End US Army Contract To Use HoloLens AR Technology In Warfare


More than 50 Microsoft Corp employees have demanded that the tech giant cancel a $480 million deal to provide augmented reality technology to the U.S. Army.

Microsoft's HoloLens

The $3,000 HoloLens, which Microsoft first released to developers in March 2016, allows the wearer to see digital images laid over the real world.

The engineers who worked on the technology believed it would be useful for making buildings and cars, helping teach people to play the piano or perform surgery, pushing the boundaries of gaming, and connecting with the Mars Rover.

The workers, however, said that under the contract, the company's HoloLens augmented reality technology will be designed to help soldiers kill.

AR Technology To Be Used In Warfare

In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith, the group cited the objective of the contract to develop a platform intended for use in warfare.

"The application of HoloLens within the IVAS system is designed to help people kill. It will be deployed on the battlefield, and works by turning warfare into a simulated 'video game', further distancing soldiers from the grim stakes of war and the reality of bloodshed," the employees' letter reads.

The workers said they did not sign up to develop weapons and demanded a say in how their work is used. They said the company should stop activities that boost the military's ability to cause harm and violence.

Workers Call For Microsoft To Stop Working On Weapons Technologies

In addition to asking Microsoft to cancel the HoloLens deal with the military, the letter also asked the company to stop working on all weapons technology and create an "acceptable use policy" to cement this commitment. They also asked for the creation of an independent ethics review board that will help ensure compliance with this policy.

Microsoft will unveil an updated HoloLens at the Mobile World Congress industry conference in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday.

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